The goose grass is a late-germinating, summer annual plant that needs warmth. The species forms more or less dense clumps and grows to a height of 10 to 70 cm. The leaves are blue-green, laterally compressed, glabrous or covered on the upper half with 2 to 3 mm long, fine hairs on little warts. The inflorescence consists of 2 to 7 radially arranged spikes about 3-15 cm long. The spikes are relatively wide at 0.3 to 0.7 cm, and often one or two spikes are moved down from the terminal spike cluster.
In the agriculture of many tropical and subtropical regions, goose grass is a significant problem plant and is ranked 5th in the "World's Worst Weeds".
The species is currently of no significant importance in local agriculture. However, it can be assumed that the heat-loving plant will continue to spread. Goose grass is adapted to warm regions with high levels of light (subtropical climate). Here, it benefits from the warm summer and mild autumn temperatures of recent years. This is mainly due to the extension of the growing period and thus the possibility of producing germinable seeds. The goose grass finds optimal living conditions in root crops and is promoted by their cultivation. However, the species needs sufficient soil moisture and nutrients in order to develop lush, highly competitive stands.
Prevention and control
Early detection and targeted measures such as digging or spot treatments with herbicides (see list of authorised plant protection products in Austria) to control the first nests are extremely important to prevent establishment and spread on arable land.
Last updated: 29.11.2023